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I raced the Nahant 30 km last weekend. Like about 70% of the racers, I was only there to fulfill an obligation to my club. Though I should say that the race, while it had a very low-key, not designed for so many racers feel to it, was on a beautiful course and seemed quite well organized.
30 km is a distance I had never run before. Well over a half marathon, but well short of a full marathon…just enough distance to really beat you up without any kind of bragging rights to the outside world.
And with school, I just haven’t been training. I got sick after the Lone Gull and barely ran 30 km over the following week. The week leading into the race was a bit better, but I was not feeling confident on the start line. I hung back as a lead pack of seven runners took shape. By a mile, though, I decided that the second pack was too slow and set off into no man’s land. I ran comfortably alone for some time, and then I saw Patrick Rich fall off the lead pack. I picked up the pace a bit and slowly gained on him as the miles ticked by. Once I had caught him, I felt strong and dropped him, quickly catching and passing Sean Duncan while I was at it. On a long straightaway I caught a glimpse of Brandon Newbould, who at that point was running i fourth place. He was a ways off, but I was feeling good and thought I might catch up.
I was still feeling good at halfway, and even coming through 10 miles everything was looking good. I am a little fuzzy on the details, but sometime between 10 and 13 miles Patrick passed me back. I had little hope of sticking with him, just watched him go. But I was feeling good about 6th place. By 14 miles, any hope of running 1:45 (my initial goal) was fading fast. But I still felt confident in my placing. At about 16 miles I caught one of my teammates who was nursing a cramp and looked like he might not finish. Suddenly, I was top five! I wasn’t moving very fast, but I could feel the finish line and was excited to have such a strong finish. And then I got caught. Over the last two miles, five runners, including Sean Duncan, passed me. I had the familiar feeling of my mind telling me “those guys are running slow–it would be easy to pass them” and my legs just laughing at me when I tried.
That was almost a week ago. Yesterday I had my first run where I wasn’t miserable the whole time. And today I decided to take off from running. My motivation is kind of low right now, but I am hoping to start ski training soon. It really wouldn’t be hard to double my rollerskiing hours from last year!